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Full Marfa Myths 2017 Schedule Now Available

25 Jan 2017

Hear ye hear ye, the full Marfa Myths 2017 schedule is now available! Latest additions: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith! No Nombres! Paul Drummond! We’ll continue to add delights as we get closer to the festival, so keep your eyes peeled. Many thanks to all the artists performing, and our wonderful partners and sponsors.

Buy tickets here.

(Residents of Presidio, Brewster and Jeff Davis counties may purchase a la carte Marfa Myths tickets at a 50% discount. Please see the Facebook Marfa Group for more details.)

Ballroom Executive Director Susan Sutton in Apiece Apart

2 Aug 2016

apieceapart_marfastories_06C-1 “It’s one thing to spend a long weekend in Marfa,” writes Leigh Patterson in Apiece Apart, “and another entirely to live and work there.” Patterson traveled to Marfa along with stylist Alexa Hotz and photographer Michael A. Muller to interview three Marfa women, including Freda owner Susannah Lipsey, ceramicist Mimi Dopson, and Ballroom Marfa Executive Director Susan Sutton. Sutton holds forth on minimalism, her changing self-perceptions, and other women that she admires. “Going into your fear is the only way forward,” she says.

Marfa Myths 2016 Wrap-Up

22 Mar 2016

Marfa Myths 2016: What an insanely beautiful weekend. Thank you to everyone for making Marfa Myths so epic! Big love to Mexican Summer, and all of our amazing partners and local heroes that worked so hard to create an amazing experience. Here are some snapshots from the weekend, courtesy of Alex Marks and Luis Nieto Dickens, and check out this year’s Polaroid series here. More photos and full shout-out after the jump. Until next year! William Basinski performing at the Arena at The Chinati Foundation, March 12, 2016.   Photo by Alex Marks.
William Basinski performing at the Arena at The Chinati Foundation, March 12, 2016. Photo by Alex Marks. Hailu Mergia performing at El Cosmico, March 11, 2016, Marfa Myths.   Photo by Alex Marks.
Hailu Mergia performing at El Cosmico, March 11, 2016, Marfa Myths. Photo by Alex Marks. Mary Lattimore performing at Wrong Marfa, March 11, 2016, Marfa Myths.  Photo by Alex Marks.
Mary Lattimore performing at Wrong Marfa, March 11, 2016, Marfa Myths. Photo by Alex Marks. Fred and Toody at Lost Horse, March 10, 2016, Marfa Myths. Photo by Alex Marks.
Fred and Toody at Lost Horse, March 10, 2016, Marfa Myths. Photo by Alex Marks. Dan Colen and Susan Sutton at the opening of After Effect, March 11, 2016.  Photo by Alex Marks.
Dan Colen and Susan Sutton at the opening of After Effect, March 11, 2016. Photo by Alex Marks. Heron Oblivion, performing at the opening of After Effect, March 11, 2016. Photo by Alex Marks.
Heron Oblivion, performing at the opening of After Effect, March 11, 2016. Photo by Alex Marks.

Ballroom Marfa & Mexican Summer Present Marfa Myths, March 10-13, 2016

2 Nov 2015

Marfa Myths.    Design by Hilary duPont and Rosa McElheny.

Marfa Myths is a cultural program taking place March 10 – 13, 2016 in Marfa, Texas. Curated by Ballroom Marfa and Brooklyn-based record label Mexican Summer, Marfa Myths features artists and musicians from within and outside of the label’s roster working creatively and collaboratively across music, film, and visual arts contexts. Following a successful 2015 program bringing more than 600 international attendees, Marfa Myths enters its third year in 2016.

2016 programming for Marfa Myths includes a recording residency with Natalie Mering (aka Weyes Blood) and a special collaborator to be announced during the festival, a daytime performance by William Basinski, a Friday night after party featuring Awesome Tapes From Africa, and new audio/visual performances by Dungen and Raum (Liz Harris/Grouper and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma) with Paul Clipson, along with a selection of short films at Crowley Theater presented by Anthology Recordings, the reissue subsidiary of Mexican Summer. Live programming throughout the weekend includes performances from Parquet Courts, No Age, Quilt with Mary Lattimore, Sheer Mag, and LA legend Emitt Rhodes‘ first live show since 1973.

A central objective of Marfa Myths is to engage with the Marfa community and its esteemed cultural institutions. An artist enclave tucked into the high desert of the Trans-Pecos in Far West Texas, Marfa has become a destination for contemporary art since the arrival of Donald Judd and the establishment of The Chinati Foundation in 1986. This year, Marfa Myths and Judd Foundation will partner for a Saturday afternoon performance of a site-specific work by New York artist and turntablist Maria Chavez at The Block, Judd’s residence and studio in Marfa.

Ballroom Marfa was established in 2003 in a 1927-era ballroom, now converted into a nonprofit contemporary art and performance space. Since 2003, Ballroom Marfa has organized over 40 multidisciplinary art exhibitions and performances, including work such as Elmgreen & Dragset’s Prada Marfa and Rashid Johnson’s Shea Butter Irrigation System. Ballroom’s past music programs include concerts and commissioned work from Julianna Barwick, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Tinariwen, Beach House, Alex Waterman, and Graham Reynolds.

DC 1974
Dan Colen
Coming Down Again, 2014
Oil on canvas
89 1/2 x 119 in

Ballroom Marfa will open a group exhibition developed with New York-based artist Dan Colen — with a reception on Friday, March 11 — to coincide with the Marfa Myths weekend. This visual arts program will examine the medium of painting in Colen’s most recent body of work, offering new interpretations of landscape, sublimity, and spirituality.

As with last year’s event, there will be an exclusive, limited edition 12″ documenting Weyes Blood’s residential collaboration alongside a Marfa Myths journal designed by Hilary duPont and Rosa McElheny and featuring contributions from Marfa-based artists and writers along with participating festival artists.

Marfa Myths.   Design by Hilary duPont and Rosa McElheny.

Buy tickets to Marfa Myths here. Residents of Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties may purchase tickets at a discount in-person at the Ballroom Marfa gallery. Read our tips for getting to Marfa and where to stay (and you can always check out last year’s guide).

Prada Marfa Update: Restoration Underway

17 Feb 2015

Prada Marfa Repair 4

Restoration is underway at Prada Marfa, as Deputy Director Katherine Shaugnessy reports back with these photos from outside of Valentine. The work on Elmgreen and Dragset’s installation will continue over the next few weeks as we replace the awnings and glass that were damaged in the 2014 site vandalism.

 

For more information on Prada Marfa — including an official clarification of our policy regarding its maintenance — take a look at our Prada Marfa Explainer.

Prada Marfa Repair 5

Prada Marfa Repair 3

Prada Marfa Repair 2

Prada Marfa Repair 1

So You’re Coming to Marfa Myths: Insider Tips (The Final Part in a Series)

We wrap up our Marfa Myths guide with insider Marfa tips (see previous installments here, here, here, and here). Be sure to check out the Wrong store’s recommendations, too, which are excellent.

Mimms Ranch.    Courtesy of the Dixon Water Foundation.
Mimms Ranch. Courtesy of the Dixon Water Foundation.

Laura Copelin, associate curator
Take a walk on Mimms Ranch.

 

SEAN DALY AT DO YOUR THING
Ballroom super pal Sean Daly enjoying coffee at Do Your Thing. Photo courtesy of Do Your Thing.

Susan Sutton, executive director
Get a coffee at Do Your Thing and make friends with Bear, one of the coolest dogs in town.

 

marcus tillaeus, courtesy of flickr
Photo of Stripes by marcus tillaeus, via Flickr.

Liz Janoff, intern
Stripes rules!

 

Ironheart Gym
Ironheart Gym: Hammer Strong. Photo courtesy of Ironheart.

Daniel Chamberlin, communications director
Practice good physical fitness at Ironheart Gym, our world-class workout center housed in Marfa’s former Masonic Lodge. And listen to Inter-Dimensional Music on Marfa Public Radio!

 

The Overlook at Mimms Ranch, Marfa, Texas.
The Overlook at Mimms Ranch

Nicki Ittner, music director
1. Wander around Donald Judd’s untitled 15 works in concrete at Chinati. Free, and beautiful.
Check in with the front desk before visiting.
2. Visit Mimms Ranch. If you have the time and energy to do a five-mile run or walk (round-trip), head out to the Overlook, designed and built by Joey Benton.
3. Drive down Pinto Canyon Road/2810 at night.
4. Get a Żubrówka buffalo grass vodka martini at Cochineal (it tastes like cookie dough?!).
5. Just (literally, two hours ago) learned that there’s a walking labyrinth at Building 98.

 

New Star Grocery by Charlie Villyard.
New Star Grocery by Charlie Villyard, via Flickr.

Ross Cashiola, artist/contributor to Marfa Myths zine
Go to Linneaus Lorette’s new museum, the New Star Grocery Art Museum (301 West Dallas).

 

MARFA BURRITO BY SPENCER BROWN
Marfa Burrito by Spencer Brown, via Flickr.

Susannah Lipsey, owner of Freda/Host of the Marfa Myths Pop-Up
1. Drive down Pinto Canyon Road
2. Have a beer at Planet Marfa
3. Go to Moonlight Gemstones
4. Eat a Marfa burrito
5. Have a Mexican martini at Maiya’s

Ballroom Marfa.  Courtesy of Jen Siska.
Ballroom Marfa. Courtesy of Jen Siska.

And of course, no visit to Marfa is complete without a stop by Ballroom Marfa. We’ll have our spring exhibition up — a solo show by Sam Falls — so please swing by. And for general info about Marfa, you can download our visitor guide — which has more details about eating, tours, and shopping — or visit visitmarfa.com and marfalist.org, where you can find housing suggestions, ride shares, and more.

Buy tickets to Marfa Myths here. Residents of Brewster, Jeff Davis and Presidio counties may purchase tickets at a discount in-person at Freda and the Ballroom Marfa gallery.

So You’re Coming to Marfa Myths: Where to Eat (Part Four in a Series)

13 Feb 2015

Ballroom Marfa and Mexican Summer are presenting the Marfa Myths Festival over March 13-15, 2015, and we hope you’re coming out for it. If you are, our Marfa guide can help. Check out parts one, two, three, and read on for tips on eating in our fair town.

HOURS HERE CAN BE WEIRD
Remember: Marfa is a town of 1900-ish people. Alabama T-Shirts It’s not a big city that offers all-hours convenience. Restaurants have odd hours, or can be closed unexpectedly. When it comes to eating, just keep an open mind, be patient, adjust your expectations and take comfort that Stripes is open 24-7. As our communications director Daniel Chamberlin admitted the other day after finding closed doors at every lunch spot on a Tuesday, “Even after five years I don’t remember when things are open sometimes.”

Boyz 2 Men
Boyz 2 Men. Photo by Cody Kern, via Flickr.

WHERE SHOULD GO I FOR BREAKFAST?

Boyz 2 Men
220 W San Antonio Street (behind Padre’s) | Saturday & Sunday, 8am–3pm
Breakfast tacos, great for vegans, lot of sass behind the (Airstream) counter. Cash (pesos o dólares) only.

Buns ‘n’ Roses
1613 W San Antonio St | Thursday-Sunday, 7am-2:30pm
Low-key and reliable breakfast + lunch + donuts + flowers.

Cochineal
107 W San Antonio St | Sunday only, 9am-1pm
Upscale brunch.

Do Your Thing
213 S Dean St (in community room) | Friday-Monday, 8:30am-1pm, 3pm-6pm
Delicious espresso drinks and toast, plus (mindblowing) porridge on the weekends, 9:30am-12:30pm.

Frama
120 N. Austin St | 7 days a week, 7:30am-8pm
Big Bend coffee, smoothies and scones (if you get there early enough; weekdays only).

Mando’s
1506 W San Antonio St | Monday-Saturday, 6am-2pm (Closed Sunday)
Traditional breakfast, plus Mexican and American comfort food.

Memo’s
905 W. San Antonio St | Thursday, Friday, Sunday & Monday 8:30am-2:30pm (we think)
Mexican breakfast plates + burgers.

Marfa Burrito
Route 67, on the way to Chinati | Monday-Saturday, 7am-2pm-ish
Delicious breakfast burritos. Cash only.

Squeeze Marfa
215 N Highland Ave | Tuesday-Sunday, 8am-3pm
European-style breakfast with muesli, yogurt, toast & jam and paninis for lunch.

Mando's.  Courtesy of Fat Lyle's Instagram.
Enchiladas at Mando’s. Courtesy of Fat Lyle’s Instagram.

NOW WHAT ABOUT LUNCH?

All of the above, plus…

Comida Futura
120 N Highland Avenue | Monday-Friday, 11:30am-4pm
Hearty lunches, innovative sides and delicious desserts.

Food Shark

Airstreamland (220 W San Antonio Street) | Friday–Sunday, 12pm–3pm
The original Mediterranean-by-way-of-West-Texas food truck. Cash only.

Thunderbird Restaurant
603 W. San Antonio | Wednesday–Monday, 11am–3pm
Gourmet sandwiches, salads, fried chicken, homemade ice cream, the best biscuits. On Sunday and Monday: Marfa’s only Asian cuisine. Cash only.

Thunderbird Restaurant. Courtesy of Fat Lyle's Instagram.
Fried chicken, sesame cabbage slaw, two dick billy goat hot sauce and a buttermilk biscuit at the Thunderbird Restaurant/Capri Kitchen. Courtesy of Fat Lyle’s Instagram.

AND FINALLY DINNER?

Cochineal
107 W San Antonio St | 7 days a week, 5:30-10pm
Inventive American cooking. Reservations.

Grilled Cheese Parlour
300 W San Antonio | Friday, 9:30pm-midnight + Saturday, 9:30pm-1:30am
Late-night grilled cheese.

Jett’s Grill at the Hotel Paisano
7 days a week, 5:30pm-9pm, open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday
Classic Southwestern + American fare. Reservations.

Maiya’s
103 N Highland St | Wednesday-Saturday, 5pm-10pm
Modern Italian. Reservations.

Padre’s
209 West El Paso | Wednesday-Friday, 5pm–10pm; Saturday, 2pm–10pm; Sunday, 3pm-10pm
Burgers, tuna melts, & fries (plus Italian Tuesdays).

Planet Marfa
200 S Abbot St | Thursday-Sunday, 2pm–10pm (re-opening on March 12!)
Not exactly a dinner place, but awesome nachos + good vibes.

Beyoncé, Food Shark. Courtesy of Food Shark
Beyoncé at the Grilled Cheese Parlour. Photo via Food Shark, originally from Beyoncé’s tumblr (!).

YO IT’S FRIDAY AND 5PM AND I WANT A BEER AND A SNACK
A few choices: Planet Marfa, Mando’s, Maiya’s and Padre’s. (Jett’s and Cochineal open at 5:30pm.)

YO IT’S MONDAY AND 5PM AND I WANT A BEER AND A SNACK
Mando’s!

WTH IT’S 10PM AND I’M HUNGRY!
If it’s Friday or Saturday, you’re in luck: head to Grilled Cheese Parlour. Otherwise, all the kitchens are closed, except Stripes (the east location, near the flashing stoplight).

IT’S SUNDAY NIGHT, WHERE DO I EAT DINNER?
Cochineal, Jett’s or Dairy Queen. Or a light dinner of nachos at Planet Marfa.

I ARRIVE THURSDAY NIGHT AROUND 9PM, WHERE CAN I EAT DINNER?
Maiya’s may still be serving food, but Cochineal and Padre’s are sure things (for at least 30 minutes). You can also grab some nachos at Planet Marfa, or…there’s always Dairy Queen.

DO I REALLY HAVE TO MAKE RESERVATIONS FOR DINNER?
We recommend it. It’s Spring Break, and the town is going to be bonkers. Cochineal, Jett’s and Maiya’s all accept dinner reservations.

IT’S SUNDAY AT 2:30PM, WHERE THE HECK CAN I GET LUNCH?
Food Shark, Planet Marfa (nacho time), Squeeze Marfa (but hurry, they close at 3), and maybe (maybe?) Boyz 2 Men. And there’s always Dairy Queen and Subway (inside Stripes West!).

IT’S MONDAY AT 2:30PM, WHERE THE HECK CAN I GET LUNCH?
Thunderbird Restaurant and Comida Futura are your best bets. (Comida may be low on food, but you can always get a peasant bowl.) Marfa Burrito may still be open, but it’s a longshot. Plus our old friends Dairy Queen and Subway.

WHAT’S OPEN EVERY DAY?
Frama, Cochineal, Jett’s, Dairy Queen and Subway!

Jett's pistacho fried steak
Jett’s insane pistachio fried steak. Photo by Andrea B, via Flickr.

NEXT UP
Check back next week for our final installment, where we reveal insider tips (!!!!). Again, for general info, check out visitmarfa.com and marfalist.org, where you can find event listings, housing suggestions, ride shares, and more.

So You’re Coming to Marfa Myths: Day Trips, Side Trips, Things of Note (Part Three in a Series)

10 Feb 2015

Ballroom Marfa and Mexican Summer are presenting the Marfa Myths festival over March 13-15, 2015, and we hope you’re coming out for it. If you are, our Marfa guide can help. Check out parts one and two, and read on for tips on what to do during your visit.

Marfa Myths, design by Rob Carmichael

IN TOWN
Obviously there are loads of things to do in Marfa (chilling, appreciating the landscape, shopping, eating, gallery cruising), which can fill your time most agreeably. But if you’re the more ambitious sort, here are a few around-town or near-town journeys:

Larry Bell, 6 X 6 AN IMPROVISATION.  Photo by Alex Marks
Larry Bell, 6 x 6 An Improvisation. Photo by Alex Marks.

Chinati Foundation
We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the Chinati Foundation, the contemporary art museum based upon the ideas of its founder, artist Donald Judd. If you have any interest in contemporary art, or Minimalism, you really shouldn’t miss it. They offer various tours, but if you take the full collection tour, you can see a temporary exhibition by artist Larry Bell, which focuses on Bell’s large freestanding glass sculptures, which are quite something (see photo above).

Judd Foundation
Judd Foundation holds and maintains artist Donald Judd’s private living and working spaces in Marfa, Texas. Comprised of a total of 15 spaces, these properties include studios installed with artwork by Judd and others, living quarters, ranch and architecture offices, and libraries, many of which are available to tour. The more time we spend at the Judd Foundation, the more we admire Donald Judd and the scope of his work.

McDonald Observatory
The night skies in our area are some of the darkest in the United States, making for excellent star gazing. Head to the world-renowned McDonald Observatory for a Star Party (hosted every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights), and enjoy a tour of the constellations and view the moon, planets, stars and galaxies through telescopes. We waited four years to go to a Star Party and felt the serious fool afterwards. Just the sheer number of stars will blow you away. (Though if it’s cloudy, or rainy, save it for another time.)

Marfa Lights
What are the Marfa Lights? Have we seen them? Is it worth it? WHO KNOWS? To do your own investigating, wait till dark, then drive out to the Marfa Lights Viewing Station (nine miles east of Marfa on Hwy 90 — be on the lookout for the sign directing you to the observing area), or, if you’re feeling adventurous, drive down Pinto Canyon Road/2810, pull over, and look east, south, and southeast. Mysticism abounds.

Prada Marfa. Photo by Lizette Kabre
The legendary Boyd Elder at Prada Marfa. Photo by Lizette Kabré.

Prada Marfa
Maybe you’ve heard of Prada Marfa? Or seen the sign on Gossip Girl? The permanent land art project by artists Elmgreen & Dragset was produced in 2005 by Ballroom Marfa and Art Production Fund and has seen no end to visitors, scandal, and graffiti. The installation is about 40 miles from Marfa, right outside of Valentine, on the south side of highway. Blink and you’ll miss it. Best viewed at sunset or in the early morning stillness, when its out-of-placeness feels the most extreme.

Scenic Loop Drive
Just want to take a leisurely car ramble? Head up to Fort Davis, the starting point for one of the most scenic drives in Texas. Seventy-five miles long, the drive leaves Fort Davis, proceeds up Limpia Canyon, past the McDonald Observatory, then into Madera Canyon and a quiet, pine-shaded picnic area (you can pick up picnic fare at Stone Village Market in Fort Davis, or load up on french fries and chocolate malts pre-drive at the Fort Davis Drugstore).

OUT-OF-TOWN TRIPS
If you really want to really explore the area, or love to hike, or have time to burn, check out these longer excursions:

Balmorhea, Courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife
Balmorhea State Park. Photo courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife.

Balmorhea State Park
Dive into the cool waters of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool, which covers 1.75 acres and stays at 72–76 degrees year round. The pool is open daily, 8am to 8pm. The park is about 1.5 hours from Marfa, and some Marfans go there every chance they get. Muy relaxation.

Big Bend National Park
Let’s get real: Big Bend National Park is incredible. If you have enough time, make the journey (overnight is ideal; if you go one day, you’ll wish you’d gone two). Trails are relatively well documented in the various guide books available, and in the park literature. A few popular favorites:

– Lost Mine Trail: Lovely day hike in the high country of the Chisos Mountains. Scrub, some forest, big views.
– Window Trail: Easy afternoon walk across the Chisos Basin to a rock window formation looking over the desert lowlands.
– South Rim Trail/Boot Spring: Lots of high country trails, easily customizable from day hikes to Boot Spring to an overnight backpack (or STRENUOUS day hike) to the South Rim and the most amazing views available in Texas. Though most parts of this trail are closed until the end of peregrine falcon nesting season in May
– Hot Springs Trail: Chill 1 mile walk to Rio Grande-adjacent springs.
– Santa Elena Canyon: Another easy hike into one of the grandest canyons of Far West Texas.
– Boquillas: If you have your passport, a mellow trip across the border into the tiny Mexican town of Boquillas for tacos, sand dunes and frosty post-hike brews.

Also of interest: Terlingua is the weird and wonderful town just outside the park boundary. A world unto its own, full of rebels and off-the-gridders. (Our own Daniel Chamberlin wrote an excellent profile of Terlingua and its inhabitants a few years back for Arthur Magazine.)

The river road
The River Road from Terlingua to Presidio. (Note: This is just a lousy picture taken by us, with our IPHONE — that’s how beautiful it is!)

Big Bend Ranch State Park
A bit more obscure than Big Bend National Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park is a bit closer and offers more lowland delights. Plus, the ride along the River Road from Terlingua to Presidio is well worth it. Closed Canyon is on the road, too, another easy one hour (more or less) hike down a lovely slot canyon.

Chinati Hot Springs
An oasis nestled in the Chinati Mountains of West Texas, Chinati Hot Springs has provided healing waters to the people of the area for thousands of years. From Marfa, the journey is about 2.5 hours. We recommend a high-clearance vehicle to get there. Hippie attitude also a plus.

Chinati Hot Springs, photo by Alberto Tomas Halpern
Chinati Hot Springs. Photo by Alberto Tomas Halpern, courtesy of Texas Co-Op Power.

NEXT UP
Check back later this week for our penultimate installment, where we discuss all the eating options in Marfa. Again, for general info, check out visitmarfa.com and marfalist.org, where you can find event listings, housing suggestions, ride shares, and more.

So You’re Coming to Marfa Myths: Where to Stay (Part Two in a Series)

5 Feb 2015

As you may have heard, Ballroom Marfa and Mexican Summer are presenting the Marfa Myths festival over March 13-15, 2015. If you’re coming out, use our Marfa guide to help navigate your journey. See part one here, and read on for tips on where to stay.

Marfa, Photo by Justina Villanueva
Marfa. Photo by Justina Villanueva.

HOTELS
Marfa has four hotels:

Hotel Paisano
432.729.3669
West Texas gem. Restored hotel with original architectural details, plus an outdoor pool and a restaurant. The cast of Giant — Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, and Rock Hudson—stayed here during filming. Rooms start at $99.

Thunderbird Hotel
877.729.1984
1950s motel converted into minimalist-chic retreat with modern art-laden rooms, a pool & fire pits. Bicycles also available to rent. Rooms start at $180.

El Cosmico
432.729.1950
El Cosmico is an 18-acre trailer, tent and teepee hotel and campground. Bicycles and wood-fired hot tubs are available to rent. A hammock grove and an outdoor kitchen with a fridge, sink and barbecue grills add to the bohemian vibe. Camping is risky business in March in West Texas, but you never know, the weather may cooperate. Rates start at $95 for a safari tent (which have beds with heated mattress pads and are pretty swank).

Riata Inn
432.729.3800
Roadside motel with big rooms and a cold pool. Cheapest option in town. Note: You probably need a car to stay here, unless you’re a good walker, or plan on renting a bike from Bizarro Bikes.

RENTAL HOMES ON VRBO AND AIRBNB
There are many great houses and rooms available for rent in the area — check out all the options on VRBO and airbnb. We recommend booking as soon as you have your travel plans in place.

WHAT IF I CAN’T FIND A PLACE TO STAY IN MARFA?
If you can’t find anything in Marfa, never fear! Try Fort Davis (21 miles away) and Alpine (27 miles away). Though a bit of a trek, both are pretty manageable. Plus Alpine is a university town, so there are lots of budget motel options — not to mention Alicia’s and Big Bend Saddlery. Fort Davis has the historic Indian Lodge, which was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and a great thrift store.

Mimms Ranch, October 4, 2014. Photo by Jennifer Boomer.
Mimms Ranch, Marfa. Photo by Jennifer Boomer.

JUST A NOTE ABOUT PUBLIC DRINKING
Although Marfa can feel carefree, please remember that you may not drink in public after public drinking hours. As hosts of 2011’s Railroad Revival Tour pointed out, “According to the Sheriff’s Department, public drinking hours end at 12:15 am Friday night, 1:15 am Saturday night, and at 12:15 am Sunday night. Absolutely no drinking can occur in public after these hours. This will be enforced.” Fair warning.

CAUTION: SMOKING IN THE DESERT
A few years ago, West Texas suffered from terrible wildfires that ravaged the area and destroyed homes, livestock, and land. Many of these fires can be traced to human carelessness. While we are not currently in a burn ban, it is best to follow these simple rules:

• NO open fires. No exceptions.

• Do not park or drive over dry grass.

• Use extreme caution with anything that produces a spark, including ashes or cigarettes.

• If you do not have an ashtray, do not smoke. Do not dispose of cigarettes out of car windows or on the ground, anywhere. Instead, extinguish the cigarette and keep the butt in your pocket or pack until it can be disposed in a waste bin or ashcan.

Marfa. Photo by Aurora Tang.
Marfa. Photo by Aurora Tang.

NEXT UP
Check back later this week for our next installment, where we discuss things to do in the area (#1: take photos of the sky). For general info about Marfa, check out visitmarfa.com and marfalist.org, where you can find other housing suggestions, ride shares, and more.

Special thanks to Railroad Revival’s visitor guide from 2011 for some of these tips.

So You’re Coming to Marfa Myths: How to Get Here (Part One in a Series)

30 Jan 2015

As you may have heard, Ballroom Marfa and Mexican Summer are presenting Marfa Myths over March 13-15. If you’re coming out, you may need some help navigating your journey to Marfa. Enter our visitor guide (in five parts).

Lineup by Rob Carmichael

FIRST, A WORD ABOUT MARFA
Marfa is a town of about 1900 people, and we are bringing in a slew of visitors for the festival (not to mention it’s Spring Break). The impact of our presence will be huge. Please remember to be respectful of the community — be kind to strangers, pick up after yourself, be patient, and understand that we are a community of hard-working people in a very small town. Adjust your expectations (we have no drugstore; shops and restaurants have funny hours), and see these quirks as part of the adventure.

Marfa, Texas

MAKING THE VOYAGE
You can get to Marfa via car; plane; and kind of by train (the train will take you to Alpine, which is 25 miles away).

• If you’re coming from Austin, the drive is seven hours; from San Antonio, six hours. (Flying from either of these places doesn’t really make sense.) Houston is about 9-10 hours away — flying cuts down on that journey, but doesn’t give you quite the flexibility.

• The closest airports are El Paso and Midland, both about three hours away (directions from each here). If you fly into El Paso, rent a car, pick up a snack at Taco Cabana or Pho Tre Bien, and blast the radio (El Paso’s Fox Jukebox [Sundays, 12-8pm] is awesome; as you get closer to Marfa, tune in to Marfa Public Radio/KRTS 93.5). Driving after dark can be a bit grueling: if you can schedule it, roll into Marfa around sunset.

• There is a municipal airport in Marfa (three miles from Marfa) and one in Alpine (26 miles from Marfa), which can service most private jets. We think there’s a shuttle from the Marfa airport, but call to confirm.
Marfa Municipal Airport: (432) 729-4452
Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport: (432) 837-5929

• If you are traveling to Marfa from El Paso, the time zone changes from Mountain Time Zone to Central Standard Time, and you lose one hour.

• If you are traveling to Marfa from El Paso, you’ll pass Prada Marfa on Highway 90, about 35 miles from Marfa. It will be on your right, just before you enter the town of Valentine, Texas.

Prada Marfa map by Paul Fucik
Map of Prada Marfa by Paul Fucik.

HOT TIPS

• Most Marfa galleries, shops, and restaurants are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Plan out-of-town excursions or loafing around on these days.

• Consider stocking up on snacks and water prior to arrival: there are only two groceries in town, plus a Dollar General. (You might also get cash, too — there are only two ATMs in town, and neither are chain banks.)

• We recommend booking your lodging prior to traveling. Hotels in Marfa will most likely be sold-out that weekend.

• If you are flying into El Paso, or driving from the West, you will pass through a Border Patrol Checkpoint on your way to Marfa. Be forewarned.

• We’re in the high desert, about a mile above sea level, and the altitude and dryness can be rough on newcomers. Stay hydrated.

• Cell phone reception can be spotty out here. Embrace it.

Out the driver side window
Sunset on the drive into Marfa

NEXT UP
Check back next week for our next installment, where we discuss where to stay and if a safari tent at El Cosmico is all that (it IS, though possibly chilly in March).

Special thanks to Railroad Revival’s 2011 visitor guide for some of these suggestions.